Havas staff were encouraged to take Friday to stand united against racism.
CEO Yannick Bolloré said “the purpose of this day is to contemplate our roles in improving racial justice and diversity in and outside of our business, to take personal action or to do whatever you feel best serves you, your personal journey, your loved ones and your communities.”
He adds: “For those of you who are impacted directly, this day may be used to mourn and heal.”
The CEO underscored that “America is in pain right now” and the black community and Havas black employees are hurting deeply.
Bolloré said the company is actively working on additional resources, programming and actions that will be shared both at global and village or agency level in the coming weeks.
The note in full:
As a network, we represent 20,000 people in over 100 countries. Within this, there are different cultures, different languages, different skin tones. We would not exist without our villages around the world and without the people, communities and cultures that fill them.
The agency community as a whole, and our business, is far from perfect. We have much to do and learn. But what we know without question is that we stand firmly with great pride for all of our people, and our broader communities, and for their equal right to inclusion, opportunity and justice no matter their skin tone, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, differences in ability or any other demographic factor.
North America, which represents a large part of our organization, is in pain right now. The black community and our black employees in particular are hurting deeply. There has been massive public action, including riots across the US and Canada over the last week, in response to the senseless death of George Floyd and the many others before him. Many of these cities are places where we have villages and where our employees and their loved ones work and live. Many of our employees are impacted directly, some fearing for their personal safety or the safety of their loved ones and communities. Our entire workforce globally is impacted by this as they watch these events unfold and confront these issues within their own countries. This is happening while our people around the globe continue to cope with the impact of Covid-19.
Please know that none of you are alone. Our power as a creative company is in our community, in our village. We stand together against discrimination, we acknowledge and respect each of your cultures and we state with utmost strength – black.lives.matter.
This Friday, we are going to honor a day dedicated to reflection and solidarity, echoing the actions of our great friends at UMG who are doing the same thing tomorrow. The purpose of this day is to contemplate our roles in improving racial justice and diversity in and outside of our business, to take personal action or to do whatever you feel best serves you, your personal journey, your loved ones and your communities. For those of you who are impacted directly, this day may be used to mourn and heal.
We are actively working on additional resources, programming and actions and will be sharing them both at the global and village/agency level in the coming weeks. We want to thank those of you who have reached out to support our black employees and who have acted quickly to support this cause. We need your ideas and input as we work on this as a company. Please contact your local HR leaders who have been gathering resources and ways to engage from across the business if you would like to get involved. Most importantly, your mental wellbeing is paramount during this time. If you need support, please contact your leadership and HR teams across the globe at any time as they are here to support you.
As a company, we draw strength from our diversity. We send our personal commitment to be a part of the solution and are here to listen, learn and support now and always.